Ahead of All My Sons showing at Nottingham New Theatre, Aidan Hall chatted about putting on such a renowned American play with one of the directors, Sofia Bassani.
Aidan: What made you choose All My Sons?
Sofia : I studied All My Sons as a drama A Level student and instantly fell in love with the story. I thought it was both gripping yet delicate in the way that it dealt with topics such as war, loss and family.
“It brings into question whether one can stick to their morals and be responsible to humanity rather than individualistic when pursuing the American Dream.”
Sofia and I both study politics and international relations so it was interesting to explore the human side of war while learning about the political side in our lectures. The most important thing to me though was the amazing characters in the play and I was so excited to see them be performed by NNT members.
A: All My Sons is a very well know play- how have you tried to make this performance your own?
S : It was important for us to stay true to the original story as Miller’s writing is too powerful to change. We did, however, spend a long time with each cast member to work on different interpretations of their characters to make sure that they fitted the actors. This meant that our characters say Miller’s lines but perform them in a way that may be different to what Miller originally envisioned.
A: All My Sons is based on a true story. As a director, does it feel different directing a play when you know the events in it actually happened?
S: The fact that these events happened in the past impacted the gravity of the actor’s performances as it made them take care over the true motivations behind a lot of their lines. The show is also very naturalistic so having the knowledge that some of these events actually took place really helped when thinking about how to be as naturalistic as possible.
“This is a fantastic show that explores a number of themes that are still relevant today”
A: To what extent do you see All My Sons as a criticism of the American dream?
S: All My Sons shows the danger of the American Dream because, although Joe is successful during the play, this success consumes him and ultimately drives him to commit a crime not only in the law but also against morality. It brings into question whether one can stick to their morals and be responsible to humanity rather than individualistic when pursuing the American Dream.
A: What have been the biggest challenges behind bringing together All My Sons?
S : Our set is one of the largest of the season which meant that it was quite hard to source a lot of our materials within our budget. The broken tree that we have on stage was actually sourced after Storm Ciara damaged lots of trees on campus – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
“we’re quite a big cast so it’s a lot of fun to get all of us in a room together!”
A: What has been your favourite moment of rehearsals?
S : Our first full run was a great experience as it was very exciting to finally see the show as a whole, rather than working on specific scenes as we had been doing previously. We had a lot of fun during this run through as we were able to see the story in full and the actors were better able to bounce off each other because of this. Also we’re quite a big cast so it’s a lot of fun to get all of us in a room together!
Q: Finally, why should students come to see All My Sons?
S : This is a fantastic show that explores a number of themes that are still relevant today despite having been written about in the 1940s. The standard of acting is incredible thanks to the time and effort that all the actors have put into their performances and we are very proud of it so please come along!
All My Sons will be showing at Nottingham New Theatre on Thursday 5th March at 7:30 pm; Friday 6th March at 7:30 pm; Saturday 7th March at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Tickets available here.
Image use license here.